- Published on Monday, 30 January 2012 21:13
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This past Saturday I traveled over to the Saint Clement's Island Museum for the annual Appraiser Fair, as I have for the last 12 years. The Museum is one of the finest regional history presentations I ever have seen. The exhibits are first class, and the staff is impressively professional.
This year the Fair brought forth an extraordinary assemblage of wonderful pieces from collectors from all over Southern Maryland, the Northern Neck and as far away as Baltimore. Two of the most interesting items were estate sale purchases by a lady from Saint Mary's County. They were KPM German porcelain plaques that dated from the last third of the nineteenth century.
One depicted a cardinal with a courtier, painted with brilliant colors, and with a level of detail of superb refinement. The other, which was smaller, showed a couple in a classic setting. They had modern frames, and the reverses were covered in brown paper. The owner allowed me to remove the paper coverings, and underneath we found the incised letters, "KPM." The monogram stands for the King's Porcelain Manufacturer, the great Berlin factory that produced some of the greatest porcelain of the nineteenth century.
The historical themes of that period found reflection in the artistic work of the German artisans. It was a time when Prussia under Bismarck was plotting the unification of all of the German states, a process that resulted in the proclamation of the German Empire in January 1871. Thereafter the new German government vigorously supported the arts as a means of showing the capabilities of the new state before the world stage at large.
KPM porcelain was an important aspect in that development. The two plaques that I saw on Saturday were of splendid quality, and I suggested that he owner consider acquiring appropriate frames to show them off more handsomely.
Next week I shall cover some of the other great pieces from Saturday's show, which could have been termed "Treasures Unlimited."